Dr. Yoon Kang, an esteemed medical educator, has been appointed senior associate dean for medical education at Weill Cornell Medicine, effective Dec. 9.
Dr. Kang will lead Weill Cornell Medicine’s Office of Medical Education, driving new advances in the curriculum of the top-10 ranked institution to ensure that outstanding cadres of diverse, aspiring physicians receive the finest training. She will employ modern learning techniques and emphasize mentorship to engage medical students in their academic training, positioning Weill Cornell Medicine as a center of excellence for educating upcoming leaders and innovators. Dr. Kang succeeds Dr. Barbara Hempstead, who in January 2019 was named dean of the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences.
One of Weill Cornell Medicine’s most respected educators, Dr. Kang has dedicated her career to medical education, with evolving roles in teaching and mentoring, curriculum development, program evaluation, and administration. Since 2006 she has—and will continue to—direct the Weill Cornell Medicine’s Margaret and Ian Smith Clinical Skills Center, which offers a state-of-the-art patient simulator suite at which students can practice clinical skills on mannequins or “treat” trained actors playing patients in recreated clinical scenarios. In addition to clinical skills center director, she most recently served as acting senior associate dean for education, as well as the associate dean for program development, operations and continuous quality improvement.
“Dr. Kang is an outstanding teacher and administrator who has already transformed Weill Cornell Medicine’s educational experience for thousands of our medical students,” said Dr. Augustine M.K. Choi, the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medicine. “She is ideal for this role, and I have the utmost confidence that she will greatly enrich our education mission.”
“This appointment is genuinely an honor,” said Dr. Kang, who is also the Richard P. Cohen, M.D. Associate Professor of Medical Education. “This is an amazing opportunity to continue to advance medical education, in partnership with unbelievably gifted Weill Cornell Medicine colleagues and our incredibly talented students, who are our critical long-term partners and drivers of excellence in patient care and discovery. They are the core of our mission as educators, to prepare them to reimagine the future of medicine.”
Medical education is the lifeblood of Weill Cornell Medicine: Since its inception in 1898, the institution has cultivated an accomplished reputation for its delivery of top-tier training to future physicians and scientists. This tradition is most recently exemplified in Weill Cornell Medicine’s updated medical curriculum, unveiled in fall 2014, which provides students with a hands-on, interactive education that integrates basic science with clinical care, and emphasizes the core principles of professionalism. The new curriculum also includes the Areas of Concentration program, in which all first-year students are paired with a mentor, who will guide them through four years of scholarly work exploration.
As senior associate dean for medical education, Dr. Kang will ensure that Weill Cornell Medicine fosters an optimal academic ecosystem for students to achieve their highest career potential. This includes a particular focus on mentorship, teaching and student engagement to promote individual success and diverse ideas, highlight a broad range of healthcare needs, and encourage varied career paths. Reinforcing these core tenets of Weill Cornell Medicine’s academic culture, Dr. Kang will work in partnership with the student body and faculty to pilot new curricular and non-curricular initiatives. She will lead the continued evolution of the institution’s medical curriculum to ensure that it reflects advances in science and educational needs in patient care, and fosters scholarship at the intersection of innovation and education. Dr. Kang will also partner with the Office of Faculty Development to establish a core pipeline of skilled educators.
“Weill Cornell Medicine has the opportunity to make an indelible mark on medical education and how it interfaces with our academic medical center’s clinical and research missions,” she said. “This will culminate in our highest goal, with our future doctors optimizing patient care outcomes and healthcare delivery.”
Recognizing the academic rigors of medical education, Weill Cornell Medicine is driving national dialogue about the challenges to well-being in the medical school setting. Dr. Kang will continue to raise awareness about student wellness, establishing national benchmarking metrics and best practices. These efforts add momentum from the inaugural National Conference on Medical Student Mental Health and Well-Being, which Weill Cornell Medicine conceptualized and hosted in September.
In addition, Dr. Kang will capitalize on Weill Cornell Medicine’s close relationships with NewYork-Presbyterian, Cornell’s Ithaca campus, Cornell Tech and Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar—each of which offer valuable training and collaboration opportunities and unique teaching paradigms—to drive sustained leadership in innovation.
Dr. Kang’s vision to enhance Weill Cornell Medicine’s medical education experience builds upon the institution’s recent accomplishments in this area. In September, Weill Cornell Medicine established a transformative new scholarship program to eliminate medical education debt for all students who qualify for financial aid, beginning with the 2019-2020 academic year. The program, funded through generous philanthropy, ensures that all students, including those from economically diverse backgrounds, can pursue their medical education without financial burden.
The Feil Family Student Center opened the following month in the institution’s main campus buildings on York Avenue. The 16,200-square-foot center expands Weill Cornell Medicine’s dedicated student space by nearly 75 percent, offering a place for classes, meetings, quiet study and informal gatherings, and complements the Weill Education Center. These learning spaces augment Weill Cornell Medicine’s student living environment, which includes a renovated Lasdon House, featuring a wellness and fitness center that opened in 2018, and a planned new residence hall with expected occupancy in 2023.
Dr. Kang’s core academic interests are in simulation and technology-based education innovation. She is actively engaged in medical education arenas at a national level and has held committee leadership positions at the National Board of Medical Examiners since 2012.
Dr. Kang earned a bachelor’s of science degree in economics, with a concentration in finance, in 1991 from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and her medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine at St. Louis. She completed her internal medicine residency and served as chief resident at the school’s teaching hospital, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, after which she joined the school’s faculty educating medical students and those in post-graduate training programs. She was recruited to Weill Cornell Medicine in 2003 to launch the institution’s simulation education program and lead the design of the Margaret and Ian Smith Clinical Skills Center, where she was named its founding director in 2006. In 2015, she was appointed to the newly created position of assistant dean, clinical curriculum, and her administrative profile broadened through successive appointments in 2016 and 2017 to associate dean for program development, operations and continuous quality improvement.